Iowa City residents to get larger curbside recycling containers this month

The City of Iowa City is going to roll out new, 65-gallon recycling containers in order to promote recycling.


Joseph Cress

Iowa City City Hall is seen on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Aadit Tambe, News Reporter

In an attempt to encourage residents to recycle, the city of Iowa City has begun distributing new recycling containers to residents to replace the old ones.

The new 65-gallon containers will have blue lids and will be distributed to all curbside residents over the next two weeks.

“There has been a demand for larger bins, something that’s larger in size but also more convenient to carry back and forth between the house,” city recycling coordinator Jane Wilch said.

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Several other communities are moving toward this type of bins, she said. They are more convenient for curbside recycling, because they are larger and easier to move to the curb and be picked up by the trucks.

“After this two-week period, there will be 16,000 curbside customers who have been transitioned to these recycling carts, with a few exceptions,” Wilch said.

The 18-gallon recycling bins currently in use can be turned in to the city in a few collection events that the city aims to host. Turning the containers in, however, is optional.

“If they want to keep those and want to use them for other purposes,” Wilch said.

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There will be drop-off events in January and February, in which residents will be encouraged to bring in their old recycling containers.

“With certain residents, [they] want to continue using the 18-gallon containers due to space constraints; we do have a few residents like that,” she said.

When the old bins wear out, they will be replaced by the newer model, she said.

The city will fund a part of the initiative, Wilch said. The Recycling Partnership will provide funding as well. The Recycling Partnership is a national nonprofit that promotes recycling in various cities, she said.

“The intent to roll out new container was an increase in demand of recycling in Iowa City,” said Jennifer Jordan, the city resource-management superintendent. “Most of what goes into the landfills is actually recyclable. So, we really wanted to get people more space to recycle materials.”

The 18-gallon bins that were used for decades were being lifted by hand, she said.

“This also modernizes the system that the truck will be able to pick them up instead of having to lift them up by hand,” she said.

This is meant for single-family homes up to four-plex apartments, Jordan said.

“The other residents in Iowa City, those living in apartments … they should have recycling where they live, and if they don’t, they should contact their landlords,” she said.

Everyone in Iowa City should have recycling by this point, Jordan said.

Not only is this a way to provide a way to promote recycling, it is also a safer way to collect recycling throughout the city.

“A lot of residents forget that there these are guys out here who collect recycling and that the current way we collect it, they have to bend down, and grab the small bins, pick them up, lift them up, dump them, and put them back,” said Patricia Fossum, the city assistant superintendent for refuse. “This new technology cuts down on the wear and tear on their bodies.”